Since I quit my job at Siemens and started the take the Mattblack Speedshop seriously, finally I have the time to put together my 1965 Vw Beetle. So I decide that I am going to document it besides our EV bike project. I will try to keep it as technical as I can, so maybe I can help others with their project, and also to show off that we are not only about electronics, but we can build a mean petrol burning machine as well!
I have started this project a long time ago. I have gathered all the parts along the years as well as a few donor vehicles. But as long as I was traveling all the time I never had the time to get some serious work done on my car.
It was just before Christmas when I got a call from the shipping company that my stuff is waiting for me to pick up in a warehouse just outside Budapest. Finally the parts for the engine arrived. I got into my beetle ( ’65 stock and very badly worn) and started of for the parts. We made it home in little more then an hour. I got 5 big boxes of parts fresh from the sunny California. I ordered everything from CB Performance. They had everything that I needed so it made sense to order the stuff from one company. I also had a very good experience with them because a I have already got all the suspension parts from them. So as long as I was pleased with their service and the quality of the parts I decided to the order again from them this time. I have to tell you it was a real good Christmas present!
We went trough all the boxes tearing up the paper wrapping and cushioning to find the precious parts. It was like heaven. The long stroke crankshaft, racing quality connecting rods, dry sump oil pump….and so on… Everything brand new and top quality. Everything I need to build a strong and reliable engine for my hot-rodded Beetle!
So with every part I needed to organize all the work needed for the completion! This is almost as hard as doing the actual work, and with a project this complex it’s make real good sense to have some kind of a plan. You need to keep track of the different parts and jobs because you can easily and up waiting for parts near the completion just because you didn’t had a clue that you are missing something!
Daniel have made really good Excel sheet for this purpose where I can keep track of everything. So if I come across a new part or a new job I just write it in the table, so I can see if everything is ready! Later on I will post this one as well, you have some kind of an idea of what to do. Even though every build up and restoration is different you should be able to use it as a starting point, and the extend and modify it to suit your project!
One other thing: when you start a project this complex and big sometimes you can feel lost in all the details. I have to admit a few weeks ago I was concerned about all this. I wasn’t sure I am going to finish with this ever. So take a good advice: Concentrate on the small details.
Of course you have to plan the whole thing, but for most of the time try to only think about one piece at a time! Proceed in small steps. Whatever you start working on finish that part before you start to work on anything else. This way you will see the progress and always feel that you have finished something, that you are one step closer to the goal: a Perfect VW Beetle!
So anyway where I was….yeah I got back home with the new parts and after I carried everything inside I wanted to restart the car so I can get into the garage…and guess what it wouldn’t start. I turned the ignition key and nothing happened! Almost as my little car would have know that he carried home all the parts for himself so now he can finally give it in and wait for the resurrection. Well first I thought I will fix it. It was some kind of an electrical problem. So I made a whole new wiring harness and fuse box, but as I was just ready to install it into the poor car I realized I should do the whole overhauling rather then just trying to keep it running! It was decided I have to take it seriously and start working on it in the evenings and on the weekends…basically every moment I am not working on the EV motorcycle project I am restoring the VW. It means a lots of work but hopefully I will be ready with both till early summer.
Since than I have modified the speaker grills to fit the additional gauges…it was part of the electronic rebuild.
I also fiddled a little bit with the cylinder heads…well I disassembled and cleaned them because they need some work to be done by a machinist, and don’t want to wait for them later…you need to think a little ahead!
I tried to drop them off in a few cylinder head machinist shops, but it turned out that nobody wants to work on them. They say it is just too much time and it doesn’t worth it, especially when they heard that I need bigger valves and compression since I am building a modified engine. So I figured I have to find a good machine shop where they are not specialized to repair cylinder heads and just have them to do the job….no matter how much time would it need! I guess that’s the problem with old cars…
I also started to work on the front suspension. I had the beam sand blasted last year so I didn’t had to spend time on the cleaning. I had to remove the bearing since I will use urethane bushings.
The outer bearing can be pulled out fairly easily with a usual bearing puller, but as the inside ones are located much deeper in the beam they are a little bit trickier. I made a custom bearing puller for the purpose. It was my uncle’s idea, and I have to admit it works like a wonder. No need to hammer it out from the other side with a long bar. Just place the gadget in the beam twist it a little bit and you can drive the bearings out with a spanner.
I will install adjusters so I will have greater control over the ride height. From the books I have read about beetles most of them advise to use the classic Avid type adjuster. They need a little bit more work to install them, but because you do not need to cut the beam into half they maintain the beams structural stability. To install the adjusters you have to grind down the dimple in the axel tubing. For this I used the good old angle grinder. You will need to remove a quit a big amount of material.
After you cleared the dimples you can drive the centre part to the side with the help of a piece of tube and a good old hammer!
Now you only have to deburr the sides and you are ready to weld in the adjuster base plates. I makes sense to weld into its place this part before cutting out the oval hole for the locking bolt because this way you can avoid the wrapping of the beams.